There are no pointless prayers! I began to mediate on this after reading an article by Marcus Warner, where he points out the story of Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. They were childless and Elizabeth was long past child-bearing age. But Zechariah, who was a priest, had many times prayed for a son. No doubt it felt like a pointless prayer at this point in their lives, but as he was praying before the altar of incense, he encountered an angel who told him his prayers had been answered. And indeed in a short time Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist.
As Marcus writes, “Zechariah had offered many “pointless” prayers for his wife, Elizabeth. Realistically, she was never going to have a child—not now, not at her age. But it turns out, there are no throwaway prayers. God had heard them, and God was about to act.”
“How about you? Have you given up praying for someone or something because the prayers have begun to feel pointless? You never know,” as Marcus says, “An angel may already be on the way.”
Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” So, prayer can take many different forms and we should pray about everything—on all occasions. What does this verse teach us about praying? First, it says,
- Pray in the Spirit
What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? It simply means that we need the Holy Spirit to help us with our prayers. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for and it is trusting the Spirit to pray for us.
When you feel like your prayers are pointless—or maybe you just don’t even know how to pray about a certain situation—just ask God’s Spirit to present your heart’s request to God. That is praying in the Spirit.